An appeal results in a re-classification from R16 to RP16.
20th Century Fox Film Distribution, the distributor of 127 Hours, disagreed with the 'R16 content that may disturb' classification given to the film by the Classification Office. They applied to the Film and Literature Board of Review to have the Classification Office's decision reviewed. The Board of Review made the film 'RP16 graphic content may disturb'. This classification means that if you are 16 or older you can see the film by yourself, but if you are under 16 you have to have a parent or guardian with you.
127 Hours tells of one man's survival against enormous odds.
This film is a biographical adventure film co-written, produced and directed by Danny Boyle. The film stars James Franco as mountain climber Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder in Robbers Roost, Utah in April 2003. 127 Hours was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (James Franco).
127 Hours contains horror and violence, offensive language and some sexual activity.
After watching the film, the Classification Office decided to give the film an R16. The written classification decision explains why:
...The unrestricted availability of the publication would be injurious to the public good given the manner in which it deals with matters of horror and violence. The feature's subject matter, of a climber who becomes trapped for five days and is forced to sever his arm to free himself, would be highly disturbing to children and younger teenagers. Older teenagers and adults, on the other hand, will be able to put the graphic and jarring images of a man amputating his arm into the context of a dramatic account of a man's extraordinary real-life personal experience.Office of Film and Literature Classification, 2011
The written decision also noted that there was highly offensive language in the film and some sexual activity. The decision was issued on 8 January 2011.
20th Century Fox appealed the R16 and said the film should be RP13 or RP16.
Under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, decisions of the Classification Office can be appealed to the Film and Literature Board of Review.
The film's distributor, 20th Century Fox, sought a review of the film from the Film and Literature Board of Review. The Board of Review summarised the submission from 20th Century Fox as saying "...the film carries a strong message that those travelling in a wild natural place must be properly prepared, and must prudently advise others in advance about where they are going. It is in the public interest that the message should be widely and graphically disseminated."
The distributor put to the Board of Review that without the amputation scene the film would be at an M level, and that with the scene it should be classified as RP13 or RP16.
The Board of Review considered the character of the film and felt it has merit.
Section 3(4)(d) of the Classification Act refers to the "character of the publication, including any merit, value, or importance... in relation to literary, artistic, social, cultural, educational, scientific or other matters ...". These matters were considered by the the Board of Review and noted in the Board's written reasons for the RP16 classification:
...the film's message and its focus on Aron's thoughts and actions when his arm is trapped, is a praiseworthy part of the character of the publication. The Board also holds that the film has high artistic, social and cultural merit.Film and Literature Board of Review, 2011
They decided the amputation scene could be highly disturbing but the film had an important message to give.
The Board of Review considered that the public safety message of the film was an important and intentional theme of the film. It noted that although the amputation scene was graphic and potentially disturbing, it was also only a small part of the film's duration: 3 minutes of the 93 minute film, and that parents would be able to judge whether their children could deal with the nature of the material. The following excerpt is from the Board's written decision:
In the Board's judgement the amputation scene is necessary to tell the story but is so explicit it could highly disturb some viewers aged 15 or less. The Board does consider that some viewers aged 15 or less are likely to be no more disturbed or in any way psychologically injured than an average adult. The choice as to which young persons should see the film should be made by a parent of guardian.Film and Literature Board of Review, 2011
The Board of Review classified 127 Hours as RP16 'Graphic content may disturb'.
The RP classification is generally used where a film presents ideas or issues that could challenge younger viewers but might still be valuable to them, if they have support in working through the issues in the film.
R13: contains violence, offensive language, drug use, and sex scenes.
Initially classified as R16 due to the violent and sexual material, and the depictions of drug use. On appeal by United Pictures this was reviewed and re-classified by the Board of Review. Find out more about 8 Mile
M: contains content that may disturb.
Originally cross-rated PG, we received complaints from parents that their children were frightened by the film. They asked the Chief Censor for permission to have the film assessed using our criteria. Find out more about Disney's A Christmas Carol
PG: some scenes may scare very young children.
Originally cross-rated G, we received complaints from parents that their young children were frightened by the film. As a result, the Chief Censor called the film in to be examined by the Classification Office. Find out more about Happy Feet
M: contains offensive language and sexual references.
This film had received its PG rating through the cross-rating process. After complaints from the public, the Chief Censor called the film in to be classified. Find out more about Land of the Lost
RP13: contains violence, drug use and offensive language.
The unusual RP classification is used where a film presents ideas or issues that could challenge younger viewers but might still be valuable to them if they have support while watching. Find out more about Matariki
R13: contains violence and offensive language (film).
RP16: contains graphic violence (video).
Different versions of the film have different classifications as the law changed between the release of the film and the subsequent video. Find out more about Once Were Warriors
R15: contains violence and content that may disturb.
The film is about the massacre of 13 people at Aramoana - a tragic event in New Zealand's history - and this depiction of real life events required special consideration by the Classification Office. Find out more about Out of the Blue
R16: contains horror scenes and offensive language.
Members of the public complained to the Classification Office about the film's unrestricted M rating. They felt that the film was very frightening and contained extremely disturbing themes. Find out more about Paranormal Activity
R13: contains violence, offensive language and sexual references.
The "highly offensive language, much of it sexual in nature" in the film contributed to the R13 classification, as did the film's "crassly homophobic sentiments". Find out more about Paul
R15: depicts graphic and realistic war scenes.
This film generated much debate and became a benchmark for NZ film classification. It contains depictions of serious physical harm which are lengthy, frequent, and of a very graphic nature. Find out more about Saving Private Ryan
R13: contains violence and offensive language (film).
R16: contains violence, offensive language and content that may disturb (Blu-ray).
The Blu-ray edition has a higher rating as it also includes a short film, Manjha, that has the theme of sexual abuse.
Find out more about Slumdog Millionaire
R16: contains horror scenes.
Members of the public raised concerns about the M rating on the film as anyone, including young children, could potentially watch it. They felt an age restriction would be more appropriate. The Chief Censor called it in for examination. Find out more about The Grudge
R15: prolonged sequences of brutal violence, torture and cruelty.
The Office was inundated with letters of complaint and support over its R16 classification, which had included public consultation. On appeal, it was re-classified by the Board of Review. Find out more about The Passion of the Christ
James Franco is outstanding in this true story that might put you off climbing for life.Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian